Dropping from Double to Single Brood

Hi Everyone,

So I am thinking of dropping my 8-frame FH from double to single brood.

Last year, because the girls weren’t drawing out the flow frames despite my best efforts, I decided to double brood, and remove the QE to encourage them up into the flow frames. It worked! They started to fill the middle two frames with honey but not until towards the end of the season last year.

Anyway, I digress. I would like to move back to single brood. Opening the hive this afternoon revealed both boxes 6-7 frames full of bees. I put the flow super on top to give them more room.

What should I watch out for when dropping to one brood? Is there a preferred way to drop to single brood?

My intention was that when we have consistent sunshine, to ensure the queen is in the bottom brood box, shake off all the bees from the top brood box. Put the flow super on with the QE.

What do you think?

@Doug1 and @chau06 can probably help with that. I seen them mention it in other threads. Do You Reverse Your Hive Bodies in Spring? - #14 by Wizard

Yeah, I read through the thread. I think my query was more related to my decision to move to single brood management and whether there was a particular way to achieve this. And potential drawbacks, which I presume would be a higher chance of swarming due to the availability of space in the hive…

I’m fairly confident they are savy on the proper technique. Was just using that as a reference to one of the places i have seen one of them mention it. :see_no_evil::grin:

My guess is that one of them will have an great response for you. Looking forward to reading it. :raised_hands:

By default we run single brood here in WA. The secret is to be able to manipulate the frames in the brood box, particularly during swarm season, to ensure there is laying room. This is done mainly by removing advanced brood, preferably capped, above the queen excluder. To do this we run two honey supers. The other secret is to run young queens who are less likely to swarm.

University of Guelph have a video Single Brood Chamber - YouTube


Dropping from double brood to a single brood is an excellent idea & something I started doing as a youngster about 34 years ago. In fact I never dropped, because my mentors used single, so I followed suit.

Sometimes it can be challenging to find a queen in a single brood box, let alone a double.

The main thing with a single brood is to make sure that all the frames are fully drawn with predominantly worker comb.

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I do appreciate your comments and feedback. From some of the other threads, am I right that the best time to drop to single brood from overwintered double is just before the main honey flow or can I go ahead and drop to single now?

If you have a box-worth full of empty frames then you can consolidate into one box on a warm enough day. If you have honey, pollen, brood on more frames than fit in a box then you need to make a decision about whether they can do without whatever doesn’t fit - that decision is easier when they are able to have excess forage available.

Great, thanks, @chau06.

What’s funny is that the Flowhive has turned out for me to be an experimental hive. Looking forward to actually harvesting some honey from it for the first time after two seasons!

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Just a bit of an update: Reducing the colony from double to single brood worked very well and the colony is thriving. I can see that the bees are filling up the flow super with nectar, which is quite exciting after about three years of owning a flow hive without the bees filling it up!

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Hi The way I would move from a double to single is make the bottom brood box only brood, Find the queen and move her down, if you don’t find her don’t worry, just smoke the top of the second brood box, she would move down to the bottom brood box.

Remove the second brood box put the queen excluder above the 1st brood box and then place the super and the 2nd brood box above the Super. This will allow the bees to fill both the super and brood box with honey.

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That’s a good idea, Paras. I like the idea of filling both the flow frames and deep with honey. I also see the added advantage of giving the bees a bit more room to hopefully reduce the the risk of swarming.

Also will allow the emerging brood still to come out from the second brood box, you will need to go back in 7 days and knock any queen cells in the top brood box, unless you would like to rear a new queen for the year.

To prevent swarming you could easily rotate the capped brood frame and move the empty frames down.

I plan to take my 10 frame hive to a single brood box. I was just going to take the top brood box and put it on a different stand for another split. :metal: I figure as long as both boxes have bees and bias i dont need to find the queen. Reckon that will work? Thanks.

I reckon it would work. The queenless hive will make their own queen. What I would personally do in addition though is perhaps check that resources are evenly split.

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Most certainly. Currently there is no shortage of food either. Speaking of, the flow frames are filling fast! :partying_face::partying_face::partying_face::smiling_face_with_three_hearts::honeybee:

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Looks fabulous Freddy - harvest time is nigh!!

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@Paras To prevent swarming you could easily rotate the capped brood frame and move the empty frames down.

At the moment, I have one flow super above the brood box. I am thinking of adding a traditional super (deep frames). Would it matter whether the traditional super went above or below the flow super?

I have 1 medium super on top of my flow super. I have a deep to change it out with as they grow. That being said. :man_shrugging::laughing:

My hives do well with a medium above the Flow, on one deep. I wait to put it on until the Flow frames are a little more than halfway filled and the weather is full on summer-like. You don’t want more space if there are still nights below 60 or so.

The medium on top helps with air circulation in the hot humid weather here in late May thru late summer, which makes it easier for the bees to finish off drying & capping the nectar in the Flow frames. Then by the time I finish harvesting & remove the Flow super for the season, they will have a full medium box of honey for winter. Sometimes I’ll take a frame or two of this to eat as comb honey, when the nectar flow is going gonzo or when I can tell the fall flow will be good & they can replace it in time.

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